As a citizen of this county, and as the Gila County Attorney, I want to urge voters to vote NO on Prop. 203. This proposition declares itself to be a "Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act."
It is not and has nothing to do with medicine or drug prevention. If passed, this proposition will threaten public safety and strike a blow to the authority of our courts to deal with our county's drug problem. This proposition is disingenuous, socially irresponsible and costly.
First, Arizona law already allows "medical marijuana" for anyone with a recognized illness or disease who obtains a doctor's prescription. The federal compassionate use program provides specially grown and tested marijuana for those prescriptions. Proposition 203 allows anyone who gets a doctor's "recommendation," not a prescription, to obtain marijuana. It also allows parents to "consent" to children under 18 receiving "recommendations" for marijuana, even though parents cannot "consent" to their minor children possessing or using tobacco.
This is the wrong message to send to our young people. Marijuana is not a medicine and it is harmful. One out of three high school seniors in Arizona report using marijuana. Marijuana use in our middle schools has tripled since 1996. Proposition 203 would make marijuana more widely available, more easily obtained and NOT subject to criminal sanctions - even in drug-free school zones. Is this what we want for our county or our schools?
Second, Proposition 203 also would establish a taxpayer funded system run by the Department of Public Safety for the distribution of free marijuana to "eligible persons" possessing a "recommendation" for marijuana. This means our law enforcement officers from D.P.S. would be responsible for the distribution of marijuana. Is this what we want our officers doing?
Third, Proposition 203 decriminalizes the possession of 2 ounces of marijuana, which is in effect the legalization of marijuana. Two ounces fills two sandwich bags, making about 200 joints. Such a large amount is not just personal possession.
Fourth, Proposition 203 takes away the court's only hammer in many drug offender cases. This proposition prohibits the court from imposing jail time to make any drug offender comply with the terms of their probation, no matter how many times they violate the terms of their probation or treatment. Is this the answer to our drug problem?
The only answer to Proposition 203 is NO.
Daisy Flores, Gila County Attorney